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Windows XP: There's life in the old system yet

What do Windows XP and NASAs Mars Odyssey have in common? Both were released in 2001, which I think makes XP Microsofts longest running operating system yet. While Microsoft stopped retail sales of XP June 30, they plan to continue some sort of support for the operating system through 2014. If my math is correct, thats 13 years which is about three generations in computer years. Microsoft has kept things up pretty well with XP and made it a very decent OS when properly cared for. Many of us want to keep XP a little longer, so before XP leaves us, lets take a look at some add-ons. The add-ons are called PowerToys and they can be found at Microsofts Web site by going to www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/powertoys/xppowertoys.mspx. What are PowerToys? PowerToys are applications that add fun and functionality to the Windows experience. They do things like create virtual desktops or allow easy resizing of image files. The applications are not supported by Microsoft, which only means you cannot ask for technical assistance. The virtual desktop PowerToy is pretty cool. Linux has had the feature for years; Apple added a similar function called Spaces with the Leopard OS. Virtual desktops allow users to turn a single desktop into multiple desktops which is great for users who keep a number of applications open at one time. Word processing can be performed on one desktop, spreadsheet maintenance on another while a third can hold e-mail and instant messaging windows. Users just select the desired desktop and no longer have to minimize one thing, maximize another and so forth. Dont be surprised if you see more than one thing to try out. After all, developers have had the most time to make nifty things for Grandpa XP. Ron Poland is a professor in the Computer Information Systems AAS program at Clinton Community College. Poland is certified in company repair and networking by the Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA). He is also a Cisco certified network assistant. Questions may be sent to him via e-mail at ron@ronpoland.com.

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